1 December 2019

Book Review: Daniel Spicer – Lost In The Vaults

Lost in the Vaults

Daniel Spicer

(Elusinian Press)


This is a fascinating and stimulating book. It reprints the complete run of Daniel Spicer’s  column with the same title, as published in Jazzwise magazine between 2006 and 2019. Listing over a hundred rare collectables and forgotten gems of 20th century jazz, it brings together a library of vinyl recordings, often out of print gems, from free-jazz, fusion, Latin, deep-jazz, hard bop, jazz rock, improv, Afro-jazz and more. Daniel’s reviews are accompanied by full colour sleeve artwork for each entry plus updated price histories and details of CD reissues.

The book will remind you of the imagination and the astonishing variety of jazz produced between 1960 and 1990. You will be staggered by the sums paid by collectors for rare items. The very first entry, Sun Ra’s The Antique Blacks sold for £250 in May 2018. A rare and beautiful British item, Le Dejeuner sur L’herbe by the New Jazz Orchestra sold for £200 in July of the same year. If you have vinyl albums in your loft or cellar you will certainly be tempted to search for rarities which are still being sought. For example, Today and Tomorrow by McCoy Tyner. Available now on CD, but very desirable on vinyl.

As I said above, this book is a very good read. It will stir your memory and   confront you, at the same time, with very challenging sessions which you completely missed. It will send you in search of CD reissues which you will want to add to your collection. For example, I am likely to buy Blood by the Paul Bley Trio or seek out Hipnosis by Jackie Mclean. I hoped that the book would remind me of some imaginative sessions by British musicians and I was not disappointed. I have mentioned Dejeuner sur L’herbe, but you will also find daring experiments by Tony Coe and Basil Kirchin, fine albums by Don Rendell, Evan Parker, Trevor Watts and John Surman, even some very classy chamber jazz by Johnny Scott.

Highly recommended.

Peter Batten

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